Muscle ups, Rings and Gymnastic shapes

Todays special theme was the muscle up, so we picked up some essential skills: the false grip, the “muscle up push up” and other secret stuff

Here are some idea to help you revise

Dish Shape

handstand shape into wall walk

false grip

The muscle up push up and some other stuff you may not have seen

For those who have fallen in love with the  Muscle up and Ring Training for fitness , you may fancy this Ring Training guide its only 99p

Btw my name is Andrew Stemler. Im a london personal trainer based in Bethnal green  E2. Contact me by Email

Has Tiger just made my year?

The retailer Tiger, may just have made my year. At Crossfit London, everyone needs pull ups ( both strict and kipping). As  a famous trainer, I’m always setting pull ups as a target,

Im often writing about them. I frequently ask, “What if you have no pull ups, surely no one will want to marry you”.

But often people say, I don’t want to smash my flat up by bolting a pull up bar to the wall  or the ceiling, or Im renting, or I have a nervous cat… sometimes, they say, they are too expensive.

So, it was a delight to see that Tiger has produced a pull up bar for £10. And its one you slot in and pack away. Easy to make, £10, easy to slot into a door of between 61 and 81cm, and , so the box says , will take up to 120 kg person. Obviously not for kipping, so its “just” for strict pull ups.  But strict pull ups are great.

Im not sure they are in every store: they were in Westfield East, but I couldn’t see them at the Stratford Shopping Centre store ( when I looked today).

THE fundamental handstand error

For years I have approached my handstand in the wrong way. I have to teach a lot of terrified adults to handstand, and many find it easier to begin with their hands on the floor. This means that one leg is “long” behind, and the other leg “curled up”underneath.

The tendency is to use the long leg to swing up. Ive been doing it for years, but it makes your handstand erratic because as it swings it moves you into an arch, often meaning your foot is forward of your hands when you attempt to finish it. It also means you are throwing yourself into the handstand rather than place it .

More seriously, if this pattern is taken into the round off, the lead leg zooms around, and the real power leg is de-emphasised.

See if you have this fault and fix it

The recreational gymnast

I was waiting with one of my ( very patient) gymnastic coaches  to train in the corner of a club that I don’t often go to. We were watching   a class . It was “alright” . Nothing spectacular, but nice. The interesting thing, was the dialogue from my coach. “that poor bitch ” ( referring to the coach) “Everyone starts off like this. Dumped with the recreational  gymnasts” .

Gymnastics is a unique sport, Id almost say its the nearest thing to spiritual dedication that there is.  ( Btw any physical activity that claims to be spiritual, isn’t. Mastery of static poses, yoga meditation etc is easy peezy by comparison. It takes work, sure , but sitting on your bum navel gazing is  a lot easier  than tumbling).  It is also based on principles of selection. To be successful you need certain natural flexibility and , the ability to throw yourself backwards onto your hands. While Long Term Athlete Development concepts suggest the later starting  of   dedicated sports, gymnastics is the exception. Get in their early and specialise if you want to be any good. But here is the reality. If you go to gymnastics for 3 hours a week , you are classified as recreational. I think you have to get yo 6 hours a week before people treat you seriously.

This isnt’ a criticism of gymnasts, more a plea to adult learners to moderate their learning targets . In gymnastics even the  most basic skills are hard and difficult to master.



Dont rush at the skill

I think, sometimes, both us and our trainers rush at the attempting the  big skills without the underpinning conditioning and understanding; Often conditioning is seen as some unrelated activity. In the great bar  video, you can clearly see, for example, how the dish is progressed to assist the understanding of the circle